What's the Best Non-ablative Laser for Acne Scars?

What's the best non-ablative laser for acne scars, specifically "crater" type scarring on my temples and a few on my cheeks. I have brown skin(Hispanic), prone to hyperpigmentation, so I'm looking for something that doesn't burn the skin.

Doctor Answers 4

Non ablative lasers for crater acne

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It depends on what you mean. Most lasers are invasive if they are going to do anything. I wouldn't waste my time with truly non invasive. You will waste your time and money doing them. Crater scars can best be improved with either excisions, or elevating the scars with subcision or a multilayered approach. Some where you will need to do some co2 laser resurfacing.

Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Laser Treatment for Acne Scars

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Fraxel Dual is a non-ablative laser which uses the 1550nm/1927nm wavelengths to help correct the collagen structures of the scar tissue. The laser applies heat to the dermal layer. The skin responds to this by producing normal collagen fibers which override the fibers in the acne scars.

Fraxel Dual's wavelengths are safe for all skin types. Patients of color face the risk of scarring and hyperpigmentation, as melanin tends to readily absorb laser frequencies. The 1550/1927 wavelengths are not easily absorbed by the pigment in the surrounding areas of your skin.


Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Semi-ablative lasers would be best

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At least partial ablation will be necessary for acne scars. If you don't want something with a lot of downtime, but still get great results, I would recommend the eMatrix by Syneron. I've used this treatment for acne scarring with great results. You can check out the Syneron website to see who in your area might have this technology. Non-ablative lasers are too surface and won't be able to penetrate and treat the acne scars correctly, that's why you need something with a bit of ablation. However, ablative lasers have come a long way and eMatrix treatments only have 2-3 days of social downtime.

Best Non-ablative laser for acne scars?

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Hi Nelo.  For the type of scars you are describing, we would generally not recommend a non-ablative (no downtime) laser.  The reason is "crater" typoe indented scars are difficult to revise with non-ablative lasers.  Depending on how old the scars are and how old you are, you may be able to get some improvement, but generally for those type of scars, we suggest ablative (downtime) lasers.

If you do decide to go with no-downtime lasers, we have successfully used the Palomar Q-Yag V and Aramis lasers.  You can find a link to pictures of acne scar treatments with these lasers below.  We are located in Los Angeles and offer a free consultation.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.